Wardrobe Review

Me-Made-May this year certainly helped focus my mind on the gaps in my wardrobe and what I need to make to fill them. The answer is mainly tops.   This set me off on a major sort out in the sewing room.  I’ve packed away winter fabrics for now and made the decision not to buy anything new until I’ve worked my way through at least some of what remains.  We’ll see how long that lasts!

I decided the best way forward was to spread everything out in one place and match it up with possible patterns.  I should say that this isn’t really everything – just the best bits.  There are many other pieces of fabric that would require more of an effort to create a garment so they are tucked away somewhere else.

W was away having a rip-roaring time at the How The Light Gets in Festival in Hay on Wye so couldn’t comment on my commandeering of yet another room in the house!  The guest room is next to the sewing room so not far to carry everything.  Here’s what it looked like when I’d finished.

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Not too excessive.  Around 17 possible new garments.  Unfortunately most of them seem to be looking like skirts or dresses so the half-hearted pledge not to buy any fabric is already on shaky ground.  No progress has been made so far but I’ve now packed everything away neatly in boxes and every fabric has a pattern, thread and a zip (where required) associated with it.

The next task was to tackle my wardrobe.  I didn’t take a before photograph and I wish I had – too late now.  I was ruthless.  I had determined during MMM what I liked wearing, what needed altering to make it wearable and what I was never going to wear again – both me-made and RTW. I got used to taking my photograph every day and it did help me recognise what suits me.  One thing I realised is that I quite like tops tucked into skirts which is something I rarely do.  I also wore more bright colours and florals. I usually tend to go for neutrals and leave the cheerful stuff in the wardrobe so I’m aiming for more colour/pattern in future.  These were the three outfits that got most likes on IG so clearly this is a good plan!  The Esme dress by Lotta Jansdotter is clearly a winner too as the dresses were both from that pattern.

Five bags of rejected clothing went to the charity shop.  There has been a lot of discussion on IG and blogs about giving away handmade clothing and until now I’ve never done it.  This time I did and it wasn’t too painful.  Again I didn’t take photographs because I was working fast and furious to avoid any mind-changing!

The final (and least enjoyable task) was to tackle the ironing pile.  That is a loose term to describe a cupboard into which an ironing basket was wedged with an enormous heap of clothing heaped on top plus a couple of other bundles lurking in a bedroom.  After several hours, some wine and a lot of iplayer radio downloads I arrived at this.

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An empty basket,  which I did photograph because it is such a rare occurrence and I want to be able to remind myself how lovely it is to achieve such a state.

I was in serious need of a streamlined wardrobe so save time and effort as my life is quite hectic at the moment with the ageing parents in separate locations so all the beautifully ironed clothes were returned to the emptied and cleaned wardrobe in an ordered fashion.

On the left are skirts of all hues with tops and jackets in neutral shades.  On the right are tops in brighter colours with dresses and coats.  The latter had to be ‘filed’ together as this is the only place where there is enough room for them to hang straight down.  Winter skirts and sweaters have been packed away.   I estimated that approximately 50 – 60% of the garments are me-made.  The rest are charity shop finds or have been around for ages.  There are just two new items added in the last twelve months or so which I’m pretty proud/amazed about.

Unfortunately W did notice quite quickly after his return that his share of the wardrobe had been somewhat diminished!

I now need to get on with some sewing.  More about the plans for that in another post.

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Me Made May : The Final Round Up

It’s all over and this year’s Me Made May has been a really positive experience. Life is a bit difficult at the moment and the challenge of creating a daily outfit from my me-made wardrobe has been a great distraction!  I managed to wear at least one me-made item every day with minimal repeats and I enjoyed wearing all of them.  I have to confess that I failed on the second part of my pledge which was to try two new patterns during the month but that was largely due to the life being a bit difficult situation!

Here’s what I’ve worn since the last blog post.

Day 27 was a bit of a cheat because I wore my crazy new, pom-pom embellished Esme dress on the evening of Day 26 but as I had it on past midnight I decided it could count as that day’s outfit and I wanted to make sure it got included!  The fabric was from a vintage fair in Chichester and was allegedly French.  It cost me £10 and although it was a long length it was quite narrow so I only just managed to fit the dress onto it.  It frayed like mad and it has taken several goes with the hoover to pick up all the threads that have spread around the house.  Not sure why I decided on the pom-poms and I don’t know whether they will be a permanent feature – they are only sewn on by hand so easily removed if required.

The Day 30 skirt is a new make from a previously used pattern, Simplicity 2343, which has nice front tucks and pockets and is pretty much a perfect fit straight out of the packet – which is why I like it so much.  The fabric is a lovely unbleached organic cotton which I think I bought from The Village Haberdashery a couple of years ago.

Simplicity 2343

The striped top on Day 28 is also a new make from a Love Sewing magazine pattern (I’m reliably informed by their comment on IG that it was Issue 17). I’d lost the instructions but managed without them.  This top was a rescue from a striped disaster which I won’t go into, suffice to say that it had been thrown into a corner and abandoned.  I managed to cut some of the new pieces from it and had some fabric left over for the rest.

Day 29 was an alteration.  The original sailing-related skirt had in-seam pockets which made my hips look a funny shape so I sewed them up, cut them off and I’m much happier with it.  I made my boss some cushions with this fabric so I wouldn’t sit on his sofa whilst wearing the skirt!

I’ve also been giving some more of my handmade bags an outing.  The knitted ones are all from a pattern I bought from Laughing Hens. It came as a kit (Day 25’s version) and I then made two more.  They are all lined in fabric to prevent them losing their shape once filled with purse, phone, keys etc.  My favourite Anya Bag designed by Zoe, the creator of Me Made May, also made an appearance on Day 26, as did a shopping bag made from a huge piece of charity shop fabric.  I have enough of this to make about ten of these bags but there may be a skirt in due course.  The bag is from a pattern in Selvedge magazine about nine years ago.

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All in all I was very happy with the contents of my handmade wardrobe and the challenge did encourage/force me to wear some things that may otherwise have been ignored and they will now be in regular rotation.  I’ve certainly felt more confident about what I’ve worn as the month has gone on.  I may cut back on the stripes for a while – there do seem to be a lot of them – and might step up the florals as I’ve decided I rather like them.

What I do need to do is make more tops – which is why I bought another skirt pattern at the weekend!

A big thank you to the lovely Zoe for creating and continuing to run Me May May.  Long may it continue.

Me Made May Week 3

I can’t believe how time is flying by this month!  Another week of Me-Made-May and lots of inspirational outfits on Instagram and blogs.  Here’s what I wore in Week 3.

I realised I’d fibbed on Day 21 when I said I’d not worn the two garments together before in the challenge – in fact I wore them on Day 1. At least I added something new in the shape of a hand knitted bag.  I made this years ago and have hardly used it  I made up the design – which is strange given I’m not a great knitter – and I can’t really believe I did it! The strawberries were knitted as little bobbles as I went along and the green leaves were added afterwards using French knots.

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Another confession …. I bought some fabric on Saturday! My lovely sewing friend Clarinda Kaleidoscope and I met up for lunch and a visit to the Liberty event at Clothkits in Chichester.  I should have taken photos but there are lots on their IG feed. They had gone to so much effort to make everything beautiful, including the Liberty ‘Lawn’ out the back! Ms Kaleidoscope came away with two purchases which you can read about here but I restricted myself to one, this sweet floral which is destined to be a frock of some sort.

We also came away with a little pressie of a Liberty badge and I later realised mine matched the bias binding of a Coco top I made a while back so I wore them together for Day 22!

Pavilion Dress fabric & princess seam

You can also read on Clarinda’s latest blog post about the perfect Scout Tee she made from the leftover fabric from my Brighton Pavilion dress.  It had been sitting in my stash ever since and when she admired the fabric on IG I thought I’d donate it to her.  I gave it to her on Saturday and by Sunday morning she was wearing the top.  Very impressive  There is a princess seam in the close up image of my dress above which distorts the Pavilion a bit!

 

 

 

 

 

Me-Made-May Week Two

Another week of me-made outfits has passed and I’ve managed to keep going with only one top worn twice.

Day 9’s photograph came out even more gloomy than usual so I posted a second picture on IG of the lovely striped linen the skirt is made from just to show that it wasn’t as boring as it looked!

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Day 10’s skirt was made in short bursts over the previous weekend from the fabric I bought at the Posh Jumble Sale in Petworth.  I was visiting the town on a work-related matter but spotted the sign for the ‘jumble’ sale in the window of the town hall.  It was very far removed from the church jumble sale I attended a couple of days later in Chichester!  It was certainly posh and there were some lovely things for sale – but definitely not at jumble sale prices.  I spotted a small piece of fabric with a really interesting pattern – it was labelled as vintage 60s but I’ve no idea if that’s true. I forked out £5 because I really liked it.

I think it was probably part of a curtain because it was hemmed down each side and initially thought it would make a nice cushion cover.  I then decided to see if I could squeeze a skirt out of it.  I could – just!  The leftovers were so minimal they didn’t even make it to the scrap bag and I had to cut the facings out of a piece of calico I’d previously used for a toile.  I wasn’t going to bother with a lining but changed my mind at the last minute and used a piece of fabric from a pile cleared out by my mother a while back.  I’m glad I did as it hangs so much better with the lining.  The only other cost was an invisible zip which I bought for 20p last year when I was on holiday.  You do get what you pay for and it isn’t the greatest quality but as it’s invisible it doesn’t really matter!

So, a new skirt for £5.20 which isn’t bad – and using recycled and secondhand fabric.  As is often my way I was hand sewing the lining in just before I put it on to go to work and then couldn’t find anything that went with it until I remembered a yellow cardi which was lurking at the bottom of the ironing basket.  It was an almost perfect match and I felt very spring-like despite the fact the sun had disappeared.

Here’s a better photograph of the new skirt modelled by Doris which shows off the fabric design more effectively.

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With all the other stress in my life at the moment MMM is definitely helping keep me sane.  I love seeing everyone else’s posts on blogs and IG and I can focus on what to wear the next day when I wake up at 4.00 am rather than starting to worry about everything else.  One thing I’ve realised is that I don’t have enough me-made tops so that’s something I need to work on.

Looking forward to the first episode of GBSB tonight!

Me-Made-May Week One

I can’t believe we’re already into the second week of Me-Made-May but I’ve really been enjoying it so far!  I’ve previously reported here that my involvement last year really changed the way I think about what I buy, make and wear.  This year I have a wider selection of me-made clothes to choose from so taking part is easier, although I’m starting to realise that while I have quite a few dresses and skirts I’m rather short on tops that match them. This is something I need to start addressing.

I also need to improve my photographs.  A quick selfie in front of the mirror before I leave for work is OK but does become a bit boring.  The problem (as I’ve mentioned before) is that I HATE having my photograph taken and despite his best efforts I’m never satisfied with anything that W takes for me.  I’ve also never taken anything satisfactory with the remote control and tripod I bought for my phone.

I’ve not managed to try out any new patterns yet (I’ve pledged to attempt two during May) but I have made another Esme dress (see below for further details).  This was hemmed about five minutes before I put it on for Day 2.  I’ve also nearly finished a skirt made from a very small piece of fabric I picked up from a Posh Jumble Sale in Petworth last week.  I’m hoping to wear it this week.

If you follow me on Instagram you will already have seen all these but here’s a round up of the first week’s outfits.  Only a couple of RTW items in there, the pink cardigan from a charity shop and some white jeans which I’ve had for years and I think are the only pair of trousers I possess.  Always a relief when these things still fit after the winter!

The only recent and unblogged item is the bright pink Esme dress which I absolutely love.  I completely forgot that I was going to lengthen this second version by a couple of inches for wearing without tights but the fabric is quite a heavyweight stretch denim which might be a bit warm for the summer.  I bought the fabric on my trip to Olympia with sewing friends and it is a perfect pink!  I’d not been able to include patch pockets on my first version of the Esme (day 3) due to lack of fabric and for some reason they just didn’t look right on the pink one.  Having not spotted that there was a pattern for an inseam pocket elsewhere in the book (Everyday Style by Lotta Jansdotter), I traced off one from Tilly’s book.  I didn’t want to use the denim for the pocket bag as I thought it would be too heavy but was really pleased to be able to make good use of the piece of fabric given to me by Beth from After Dark Sewing as part of last year’s Stitching Santa – perfect.

I will remember to make the next Esme a tad longer.   I have a piece of French linen with a 60s vibe which I picked up at the Vintage and Very Nice Fair in Chichester on Saturday and I’m hoping it will work perfectly for a summer Esme.  Here’s a picture of the two recently acquired ‘vintage’ fabrics.

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I’m trying hard not to buy any ‘new’ fabric at the moment and stick with what I already have + secondhand.  There has been a small slip up with some striped jersey but we won’t dwell on that!

I’ve really enjoyed looking at everyone else’s MMM posts on IG – so inspiring.  As always thank you to Zoe for creating Me-Made-May!